"We praise people for being “naturally” smart, too, “naturally” athletic, and etc. But studies continue to show, as they have for some time now, that it is generally healthier to praise schoolchildren for being hardworking, than for being naturally gifted. We know now that to emphasize a child’s inherent ability places pressure on that child to continue to be accidentally talented, which is something that is hard for anyone to control. When the children who are applauded for their natural skills fail, they are shown to take the failure very personally. After all, the process of their success has always seemed mysterious and basic and inseparable from the rest of their identity, so it must be they who are failing as whole people. When students are instead complimented and rewarded for their effort and improvement, they tend to not be so hard on themselves. When they fail, they reason, “Well, I’ll work harder next time.” They learn that they are capable of success, rather than constantly automatically deserving of it, and they learn simultaneously that they are bigger and more complex than their individual successes or failures."
Kate of Eat the Damn Cake, The Stupidity of “Natural” Beauty (via theimperfectascent)
I lost whole years of my life to self-loathing and self-sabotaging because I couldn’t sustain being ‘gifted’. Don’t make the same mistake.
This is so, so important for teachers to understand. I try, in every report card, to focus on effort, not natural ability. And you know what? It makes a big difference in my classroom.
There’s another angle of this, too — if you’ve internalized the idea that you can be a ‘natural’ at something, you’re much less likely to say “Hey, I could get good at this if I had someone teach me and worked at it!” As someone who just went through that arc of realization with singing, it jumps out at me — I didn’t think it was worth learning because I was a bad at it. But bad at things is what you ARE before you’ve learned to do them!
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. not just for kids - whenever I praise my friends and partners, I make sure to always stick to praise effort over innate skill. it makes a substantial difference, even in adults ^_^
(Source: eatthedamncake.com, via shamelesslyunladylike)